Skip to main content

Full text of "Virginia Wildlife"

See other formats

untain M 

Bob Duncan 

ovember ushers in 

our general firearms 
season and my mind, of 
course, turns to safety. A 
brief review of hunting in- 
cidents is provided here 
by Sgt. David Dodson. It 
looks at some of the fac- 
tors that have changed 
over the past 30 years and 
others that provide a 
long-term perspective on 
our progress promoting safety 
afield. Hunter education classes are 
in full swing across the state, and it 
is my pleasure to thank the many 
volunteers who serve the Depart- 
ment, and all Virginians, in this ca- 
pacity. Safety is our number one 
priority as we trust it is for you, too. 

As the season brings with it 
colder, shorter days, I think of my 
friends who are "touched" enough 
to pursue waterfowl, often on frigid 
waterways or from the sparse seat- 
ing of a well concealed duck blind. 
Tee Clarkson's feature will provide 
a little insight into the mind of a 
duck hunter, though it is a mind 
that few of us can understand. His 
story reminds me of a gentleman 
who came before our Board many 
years back, requesting more late 
season days to hunt, admittedly 
during inclement weather. As I re- 
member it, that man sparked plenty 
of laughter when he said, "Duck 
hunting is a suffering sport. If 
you're not suffering, you're not 
duck hunting." 

Inside this edition of the maga- 
zine you will also read about late 

fall turkey hunting. What 
a wonderful time to take 
advantage of the school 
holidays to invite a young 
hunter afield. Or, intro- 
duce a kid to the clever 
antics and instincts dis- 
played by old torn, by 
inviting that youngster to 
accompany you with an 
Apprentice Hunting Li- 
Also of note is a story about 
poaching — a problem that continues 
to plague wildlife management 
across the country and around the 
world. Poachers threaten the security 
of all wild animals and their trade is 
particularly nasty and difficult to 
track. We lean on many sources for 
information to come down on the 
bad guys. Hunters and other wildlife 
enthusiasts can help us by maintain- 
ing an "ear to the ground" in this re- 
gard. If you do witness or become 
privy to acts of poaching or other 
wildlife violations, it takes just a few 
minutes of your time to report that to 
us, at 1-800-237-5712. 

As always, I would be remiss if I 
did not plug the tireless efforts of the 
Hunters for the Hungry program 
that distributes venison to struggling 
families across Virginia. This year, the 
need is great and budgets are tight. If 
you can help out through a financial 
donation or sharing your harvested 
game or volunteering some time, I 
encourage you to learn more at 

Wishing you and yours a secure 
and bountiful Thanksgiving holiday! 

Mission Statement 
To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth: 
To provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the 
rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safety for persons and prop- 
erty in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of 
and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 


Commonwealth of Virginia 
Timothy M. Kaine, Governor 



Subsidized this publication 

Secretary of Natural Resources 

L. Preston Bryant, Jr. 

Department of Game and 
Inland Fisheries 

Bob Duncan 
Executive Director 

Members of the Board 

Ward Burton, Halifax 
Brent Clarke, Fairfax 
Sherry Smith Crumley, Buchanan 
William T. Greer, Jr., Norfolk 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
John W. Montgomery, Jr., Sandston 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
Richard E. Railey Courtland 
F. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

Magazine Staff 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 

Emily Pels, Art Director 

Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 

Sgt. David Dodson, Staff Contributor 

Color separations and printing by 
Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is publishe 
monthly by the Virginia Department of Game an 
Inland Fisheries. Send all subscription orders an 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 747^ 
Red Oak, Iowa 51591-0477. Address all other corr 
munications concerning this publication to Virgim 
Wildlife, P. O. Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Stree 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rate 
are $12.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.0 
per each back issue, subject to availability. Out-o 
country rate is $24.95 for one year and must be pai 
in U.S. funds. No refunds for amounts less tha 
$5.00. To subscribe, call toll-free (800) 710-936' 
Postmaster: Please send all address changes t 
Virginia Wildlife, P.O. Box 7477, Red Oak, low 
51591-0477. Postage for periodicals paid i 
Richmond, Virginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 2009 by the Virginia Department i 
Game and Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries sha 
afford to all persons an equal access to Departmer 
programs and facilities without regard to rac< 
color, religion, national origin, disability, sex, c 
age. If you believe that you have been discrimina 
ed against in any program, activity or facilit; 
please write to: Virginia Department of Game an 
Inland Fisheries, ATTN: Compliance Officer, (401 
West Broad Street.) P.O. Box 11104, Richmonc 
Virginia 23230-1104. 

"This publication is intended for general inform; 
tional purposes only and every effort has bee 
made to ensure its accuracy. The information cor 
tained herein does not serve as a legal represent.' 
tion of fish and wildlife laws or regulations. Th 
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisherie 
does not assume responsibility for any change 
dates, regulations, or information that may DCCU 
after publication." 


Mixed Sources 


About the cover: 

As general 
firearms season 
opens, many 
will join a long 
tradition of hunt- 
ing in Virginia 
and venture afield 
in pursuit of a 
whitetail. Last 
season was the 
best on record, 
and we expect 
a similar, strong 
showing this 
time around. 




For subscriptions, 

circulation problems 

and address changes 



12 issues for $12.95 
24 issues for $23.95 

4 Mountain Mallards 
by Tee Clarkson 
Sometimes the best duck hunting doesn't take 
place along the coast. 

9 It Takes a Poacher 
by Ken Perrotte 
A peek at the profile of wildlife criminals and an 
undercover agent who brought them down. 

Unveiling Natural Wonders 
i at Fish Camp 
by Beau Beasley 
Here's a fish tale that parents and kids can't resist. 

Time to Take a Kid Hunting 

by Bruce Ingram 
Virginia's late fall turkey season coincides with 
school and holiday breaks. 

MeBird and the Virginia Birding 
and Wildlife Trail 
by Gail Brown 
Using technology to enhance the birding 

Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! 
1 by Spike Knuth 
Secretive Little Fur Balls 

Hunting Incidents, Then and Now 
by Sgt. David L. Dodson 
Looking back provides context for the present. 

Afield and Afloat 

28 Off the Leash 

A Duck Hunter s Journal 

93 Dining In 

Photo Tips 

A pair of 

duck hunters, 

a dog, and... 

the mountains? 

photos by Eric Rutherford 

Waders. ..check. 
Shot guns... check. 
Shells... check. 
Duck calls... check. Ready to go, I 
left out of the basement door as I al- 

ways do for hunting trips, hoisting 
my waders over one shoulder, my 
hunting bag over the other, carrying 
a gun case in each hand. This trip 
would be different though. This time 
I wasn't heading north to Delaware 
or Maryland. Not east to Tangier or 
Chincoteague. Not even south to 
Currituck Sound or Lake Mattamus- 
keet. With all the swamps and tidal 
marshes within a few hours by car, I 
was driving three hundred miles to 
the southwest corner of Virginia to 
hunt ducks in the mountains. 

As the afternoon wore on, I 
passed Charlottesville, climbed over 
Afton, and wove down through 

Waynesboro before merging onto 81 
South. This was a route I usually as- 
signed for smallmouth or trout, cer- 
tainly not duck hunting. It seemed 
like a good weekend to try some- 
thing new and different though. This 
was confirmed as I listened to the 
Arizona Cardinals beat the Eagles in 
the NFC championship game and 
move on to their first Super Bowl. 

It started snowing just after I 
passed Roanoke, and while I did not 
want too much on the roads, the 
white stuff was a welcome sight. It 
rarely snows in Richmond anymore. 
Besides, a little snow could make for 
a good hunt in the morning. A few 




i I 






hours later I pulled off the highway 
into Abingdon and made my way to 
Eric Rutherford's house. 

You never know what to expect 
when meeting a person for the first 
time, but I have found that when the 
common bond is a passion for duck 
hunting, things tend to gel pretty 
quickly. Meeting Eric was no excep- 
tion. Within a few minutes we were 
enjoying venison stir fry with his 
wife, Holly, and his two-year-old 
daughter, Blair. Of course it did not 
take long for the conversation to turn 

A few decoys can provide plenty of 
success on small waters. 




to ducks and stories of the season's 
invariable ups and downs, of past 
failures, and of the hopes of future tri- 
umphs. Outside it kept on snowing. 

Five a.m. came as early as it al- 
ways does, with the same relief and 
excitement. I must feel like most 
hunting dogs when the wait is finally 
over and it's time to go to the field. 
Several inches of fresh snow had fall- 
en during the night, which made my 
flatlander nerves jump a bit, but Eric 
assured me we would be able to get 
to his spot on the river without a 

Within an hour we were parked 
next to a dilapidated barn on top of a 
relatively steep hill. At least I would 
call it steep where I am from. We 
slipped into waders, grabbed guns 
and decoys, and proceeded to make 
our way down toward the river 
where we would set up and wait for 
dawn. The experience was surreal, 
the world in a wild, white silence but 
for the crunch of our boots on the 
fresh snow and the soft panting of 
Eric's dog. No rumbling motors or 
knee-deep mud to navigate. No 
cussing an outboard that won't start 
at 5:30 a.m. Hank, Eric's black lab, 

loped alongside, old enough to know 
not to use up too much energy before 
a hunt, and young enough to hope 
we would need him. A light snow 
continued to fall. 

Ultimately I broke the silence as 
we neared the river and I could hear 
the rushing of the water: "That was- 
n't a bad walk," I commented. 

"Yeah, but we have to go back up 
when we are done," Eric replied. 

A good point. 

There was no need to rush things 
once we reached our spot, a shallow 
riffle, maybe a hundred yards below 
a soft bend in the small river. We had 
thirty minutes before legal shooting 
time and only a modest spread of de- 
coys to toss out. After finding a 
downed tree to hide behind, we set a 
half-dozen mallards and a few black 
ducks in the little run that looked 
more suitable to trout fishing man to 
killing ducks, but Eric assured me he 
had seen close to 20 mallards loafing 
here the afternoon before. We hoped 
they would come back as we leaned 
against the tree along the bank and 
talked about his dog, Hank, and past 
hunts on this river, one of us asking 
every few minutes the most asked 

Rarely is there a need for a permanent 
blind on a small river. Generally, plenty 
of natural cover exists to conceal a few 
hunters and a dog. 

question prior to shooting time in 
duck blinds everywhere, "What time 
is it now?" 

A guy recently queried me on the 
phone if I was a deer hunter. When I 
replied that I mostly hunted ducks, 
his response was, "Ahh ... one of 
those guys." 


"Yes . . . one of those guys," I said. 
He knew I must love cold, nasty 
weather in the winter, high tides that 
flood marshes, and wicked north 
winds. Eric is one of those guys too. 

When shooting time arrived, we 
hushed and turned to the sky. Look- 
ing out over a spread of decoys, the 
snow beginning to pick up, hunker- 
ing behind a downed log, waiting on 
the birds and the whistle of wings, I 
was hard pressed to see how it could 
get much better than this, at least not 
until four mallards glided over our 
spread a few minutes later. 

"Here we go," Eric whispered. I 
leaned in closer to the tree. He gave a 
short come-back call, but the birds 
had disappeared down the river and 
out of sight. In a minute a pair ap- 
peared just downriver from where 
we had seen them last vanish. They 
dropped straight down on us 
through the small hole in the trees 
above the water. Faintly I heard Eric 
say, "Take 'em," but my gun was al- 
ready halfway to my shoulder. They 
were only ten yards when I fired the 
first shot from my over and under 
and, as strange as it may sound, they 
were a little too close. At least that is 
my excuse for missing the first shot. 
Fortunately, as they picked up I 
dropped one with my second, saving 
myself from total embarrassment. 

Hank took off on command from 
Eric, who hadn't shot, and splashed 
through the shallow water along the 
bank to where the mallard lay dead 
in a small eddy The snow was really 
coming down now. 

A few minutes later two more 
mallards came swooping in low over 
the decoys and Eric dropped one. 
Throughout the morning we saw 20 
or 25 birds, and where that might not 
be considered much in many places, 
it is plenty when they come to where 
you have set up. Most of them gave 
us a look or came in, and we took a 
handful. With the snow still falling I 
knew I would need to get on the road 
home soon, so we called it a morning 
around 9. 

It was nice to only have a few de- 
coys to pick up, but there was still the 
hike back up the hill I had not forgot- 
ten about. Whether it is wallowing 

Fast moving, shallow water can make for some interesting retrieves, even for a 
veteran hunter. 

Perhaps the nicest thing about hunting over a small spread is only having to pick up 
a few decoys when the day is done. 

through mud or trudging up a steep 
hillside with a bag of decoys on one's 
back, it just wouldn't be duck hunt- 
ing if it was easy. I turned toward the 
river one last time as we headed up 
the trail to the truck and, sure 
enough, two mallards appeared out 
of the snow and landed right in the 
riffle where we had set up. It was 

comforting to know that mallards in 
the mountains are the same as they 
are everywhere else and that some 
things just never change. □ 

Tee Clarkson is an Englisli teacher at Deep Run 
High ScJwol in Henrico Co. and runs Virginia 
Fishing Adventures, a fishing camp for kids: 






ill Justice hung around with a rough crowd, folks 

who wouldn't think twice about pressing the 

muzzle of a cocked, loaded weapon against the 

back of your head while they searched you to make sure 

you were who you said you were. 

Justice was a poacher and his "buddies" were poach- 
ers, many of whom were already convicted felons accus- 
tomed to a little gunplay. 

Bill Stump was a game warden with the Depart- 
ment, known today as a "conservation police officer," 
who used inside information Justice obtained to put 
wildlife violators out of business. 
Both are the same man. 

Stump, a Honaker, Virginia, native who retired in 
October, 2008 after 34 years of service with DGEF, was 
among the most successful undercover operatives ever 
employed by Virginia. He participated in operations 
with code names such as "Bear Down, Triple-Edge, 
Meat Pot," and "SOUP" or, Special Operation to Un- 
cover Poaching. 

The work netted violators illegally hunting and 
selling venison to restaurants and bear parts to for- 
eign buyers for food and medicine. His efforts also 
caught criminals killing protected birds for private 
display and transporting wild animals into and out 
of state for "hunts" — for food, medicinal purposes, 
and the highly lucrative pet trade. He even busted 
poachers using blasting caps to kill or stun fish. 

"I used the undercover name Bill Justice for 24 

years. I got numerous comments from court and 

criminal justice officials with reference to my choice 

of my covert last name. The most received comment 

was 'Justice at work'," Stump said. 

It is often pointed out that conservation police 
officers are the only law enforcement members of 
the state who can almost be assured that everyone 
they encounter is carrying a firearm or a knife, or 

Routine operations for uniformed officers 
carry inherent risks, but the danger factor ratchets 
up exponentially when an officer submerges into 
the shadowy world of the lawless. 

Left, Bill Stump early in career. Right, newspaper 
clippings of the day extol Stumps accomplishments 
before becoming a special agent. 



Stump said his undercover targets 
suspected him of being an officer sev- 
eral times, with some accusations 
more nerve-wracking than others. 

"One time, two individuals were 
driving me around the county show- 
ing me places where they had been 
killing a lot of deer illegally We 
ended up on a dead-end dirt road. 
The driver stopped and turned the 
inside lights on. The passenger, who 
was a brother to the driver, turned 
and said, 'You are a g~ d — cop'. 

"I retrieved a beer from a grocery 
bag in the back seat, popped the top 
and handed it to him and stated, 'Hell 
yes, I am the Chief of Police at 
Roanoke.' Luckily for me, they 
thought that was funny and 
laughed," Stump said. 

"On another occasion, my second 
operation, five convicted felons held 
me down on the ground at gunpoint 
while they searched me for weapons 
and any type of I.D. that would impli- 
cate me as being an officer," he 

Stump said the key to 
handling such situations is to 
remain calm and have faith 
in your training and ability. 

Love of Outdoors and 
a Flair for Acting 

Stump grew up on a farm and en- 
joyed hunting, fishing, and trapping. 
"I was always an avid outdoorsman 
. . . have always had a love for the out- 
of-doors," he said. 

He was impressed by the work 
local game wardens and the DGIF 
did for sportsmen and landowners, 
and his father, uncles, and new bride 
encouraged him to apply for a job. 
His first application in 1973 was 
turned down, but he re-applied in 
1974 and was selected. 

Stump took an early liking to 
'plainclothes' work, finding it rather 
easy and rewarding 

Extensive undercover work in 
1984 brought numerous charges 
against deer poachers and sellers of 
wildlife in Bedford and Wythe coun- 
ties. Stump said he came to realize 

that the only way certain wildlife vio- 
lators — real professional poachers, 
many of whom are already convicted 
felons — would ever be brought to 
justice was through undercover 

"There's a lot of money to be made 
in the black market of illegal wildlife 
parts, from black bear gall bladders, 
which can bring as much as $10,000 
on the foreign market, to trophy deer 
heads and migratory waterfowl ... 
not to mention the fees guides charge 
for illegal hunts or fishing trips, 
whether it be on national parks or 
other prime hunting and fishing 
areas," he explained. 

Stump spent 23 years in "deep 
cover" with covert credentials and 
many of his investigations yielded 
cases involving multiple defendants 
and hundreds of charges. 

One operation Stump supervised 
operated out of a "storefront," and 
for nearly three years, the agent he 
was working with lived upstairs in 
an apartment and ran the store 


Evidence photos of bear gall bladder and paws. 

"It was never hard for me to come 
up with a cover story," Stump said. 
"I've assumed covers such as coal op- 
erator from Southwest, sporting 
goods store owner, military surplus 
dealer, seafood dealer, bear hunter, 
kennel owner, and member of a con- 
sulting firm, to mention a few." 

Blending in with poachers and 
gaining their trust also took a certain 
flair for acting, Stump explained. A 
top priority is to lose the law enforce- 
ment persona, the "in charge" look 
he says that all law enforcement offi- 
cers project. With his burly stature, 
growing long hair and a bushy beard 
helped him lose the lawman role and 
blend in as an unemployed coal 

"You have to look the part you are 
playing — including personal looks, 
clothing, mannerisms, and actions. I 
learned early on not to play a part I 
couldn't back up. We were told in 
covert school not to play the part of a 
brain surgeon; you might be required 
to operate," Stump said. 

"All undercover officers need 
some training in acting. You also need 
proper equipment: vehicles, boats, 
guns, clothing, etcetera," he added. 

Beyond delivering an Oscar-nom- 
ination-worthy performance as a 
character actor, cultivating a poach- 
er's confidence can sometimes take a 
couple of years before enough trust is 
built for him to bring you into his 

Stump said having someone who 
will vouch for you usually cuts down 
on the time it takes to win someone's 

The Criminal Mind 

Criminals are humans and like to 
brag about their accomplishments. 
Stump said people he worked while 
undercover usually came around to 
sharing needed information because 
they liked to brag or confide about 
their criminal enterprise and tech- 
niques in someone they have come to 
trust. While he said he has seen some 
poachers reform and assist the gov- 
ernment in future investigations, 
they rarely do so willingly. 

"Usually, they're working off 
charges and hope to benefit them- 
selves. Also as part of a plea agree- 
ment or probation requirements, 
they may be required to make per- 

sonal appearances and discuss their 
past criminal activities," Stump said. 

Sniffing out wildlife violators has 
brought him into close contact with 
all types of people. 

"You encounter the best and the 
worst. Not all wildlife violators are 
convicted felons. Many are just regu- 
lar people with a job and a family. 
Some lack a respect for the wildlife 
and that's when I come in," he said. 

He admits actually coming to like 
some of the perpetrators, but quickly 
said he never let that interfere with 
his responsibility to enforce environ- 
mental and wildlife laws. 

"They all came to like me — at least 
for a short period of time," he said 
wryly. "When you work undercover 
you have a way of going from 'best 
buddy' to 'enemy number one' real 

Stump said he has even had sus- 
pects he had been working covertly 
call him and warn him that "the 
man" was coming after they'd been 
arrested or charged. 

"Sometimes they didn't think that 
I was the undercover officer right up 
till court date and I took the stand 
and began to testify. Some shock, 
right?" he quipped. □ 

Ken Perrotte is a King George County resident 
and the outdoors columnist for Fredericksburg's 
Free Lance-Star nezcspaper. 

Image captured from VDGIF video surveillance tapes. Stump is on the right. 



Image captured from VDGIF video 
surveillance tapes. Stump appears left. 
Below, Bill Stump remains active in 
investigative work. 

Ready to 
Sliare Experiences 

William (Bill) K. Stump spent the last 34 
years of his 40-year career in public and 
military service with the Virginia Depart- 
ment of Game and Inland Fisheries, in- 
cluding 23 years with the Special Opera- 
tions Unit where he was Assistant Special 
Agent in Charge. 

Stump believes poaching, especially 
commercial poaching for monetary gain, 
is more prevalent than the average per- 
son or sportsman would suspect. Even 
with the sporadic publicity the subject 
receives, black market values for things 
such as black bear gall bladders escape 
most people's attention, he explained. 

He sees undercover police work as key 
to nabbing the pros. 

"The good part about undercover 
work is that you feel like you are really 
getting the people that are truly hurting 
the resource," he said. "The uniformed 
force is just not very effective against 
professional poachers. They just have too 
many things required of them to focus on 
a commercial investigation for a concen- 
trated, extended time period." 

Then, there is the "ego poacher" — a 
problem that Stump sees exacerbated by 
yearly contests for the person who kills 
the deer with the biggest rack, or the 
largest bear, or the largest fish. Still, 
some hunters just try to see how many 
wild turkeys they can kill in a year, he 


Even non-hunters looking for trophies 
instead of animal parts used in folk reme- 
dies, exotic foods, or alternative medi- 
cines drive some of the market. 

"Many people who don't hunt or fish 
are willing to pay high dollar for trophy 
wildlife to display in an office or den. 
Most people don't believe that there is 
much poaching on the national parks; 
yet, during my career I did two investiga- 
tions into poaching of everything from 
bear, deer, and reptiles, to ginseng in 
Shenandoah National Park." 

Busting poachers often takes a com- 
bination of high-tech gear and good, 
boots-on-the-ground police work. Under- 
Lying it all, though, is a dedication to see 
the job through, recognizing that for 
every 18- to 20-hour day spent in the 
field, another three to four days are spent 
on office work. 

"There are long hours, adverse weath- 
er conditions, time away from family and 
friends, and hanging out with unsavory 
characters, but that is what it takes to be 
successful," Stump said. 

"I supervised several individuals that 
thought they wanted to do undercover 
work, only to fade away after the 
first or second trip into the 
field," he added. 

Hollywood-produced televi- 
sion shows aside, not every case 
can be slammed shut with some 
high-tech solution. Yet, Stump said 
he perceived that some courts and 
juries expect the agent to have 
hours of video or audio docu- 
menting his every move. 

"High-tech gear is fine in 
some situations but isn't practi- 
cable to wear in others. You al- 
ways have to be aware that 
the target might find the 
electronic gear. I have 
made notes on paper 
and, when able, 
mailed them to my 
office," he said. 

Now, at the end of his career in public 
service, Stump reflects on both his uni- 
formed and covert operations work, con- 
fessing he misses it along with the trained 
professionals who worked beside him. 

Today, he runs a private company, 
William Stump & Associates, Ltd., 
( that specializes 
in covert video surveillance systems, hid- 
den cameras, and GPS tracking devices, 
many of which he helped design during 
his career as a special agent. 

Also a licensed private investigator, 
Stump works electronic surveillance for 
corporations and various agencies. 

Stump said he is always available to 
share his wildlife enforcement knowledge 
with young law enforcement officers as 
well as the public, with particular empha- 
sis on educating others about the chal- 
lenges that wildlife agencies face trying 
to enforce wildlife laws. 


Campers begin each morning with an hour of fly casting. 


'n yelling i hi 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff shock a portion of the Rose River as 
campers look on. 

essay and photos by Beau Beasley 

Like most six-year-olds, my 
daughter Maggie lives and 
breathes fairy tales. Perhaps 
the only thing she loves as much as a 
classic yarn is the outdoors: My na- 
ture girl can entertain herself for 
hours catching butterflies, digging 
holes in the ground, and watching 
the birds. In June Maggie's loves 
came together when she tagged 
along beside me for a few days at the 
5th Annual Trout Unlimited Tri-State 
Conservation Camp at Graves 
Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia. 

Kneeling on the banks of the Rose 
River, wildlife biologist Paul Bugas, 
with the Department, became the 
Pied Piper: "That's a black-nosed 
dace," he said, pointing down into a 
bucket. "That's a sculpin, and there's 
a stone fly. Stone flies require clean 
water, so seeing them is a really good 
sign of a healthy stream." 

The students who were jostling 
each other to get closer to Bugas had 
just listened to his lecture earlier that 
morning. Finally the Pied Piper de- 
cided to relocate his class from 
streamside to the shade of a nearby 
tree so that more students could get 
in close. 

Just moments before, members of 
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had 
electro-shocked a portion of the Rose 
River and collected dozens of sam- 
ples of various fish and insects. The 
aquatic 'prizes' were placed in buck- 
ets and then brought to Bugas for 
identification. He eventually separat- 
ed them for counting and inspection. 
At times Bugas was pressed on all 
sides, as interested children eagerly 
peered into the buckets and vied to 
ply him with questions. 



onu?r> m 

Camp director Paul Kearney 
looked at Bugas and his cluster of stu- 
dents with a knowing smile. "It's the 
same thing every year," said Kearney 
with a grin. "Paul Bugas and the folks 
at DGIF do a great job of engaging 
these kids. Just look at them over 
there. You think those kids are that in- 
terested in their teachers and subject 
matter at school? I don't think so." 

I glanced back toward the group 
and was surprised to see Maggie 
alongside Bugas. She had a crayfish 
in her hand and a look of wonder on 
her face. Like the older kids around 
her, she was listening with rapt atten- 
tion to the Pied Piper of the Game De- 
partment introduce the aquatic won- 
derland he'd just unveiled. D 

Beau Beasley ( is di- 
rector of the Va. Fly Fishing Festival and 
author of Fly Fishing Virginia: A No 
Nonsense Guide to Top Waters. 

Seining the river and identifying aquatic 
insects weave education into fishing fun. 

in Attending? 

Think your kids might enjoy conservation 
camp? Campers range in age from 13 to 
17 and attend classes that cover a variety 
of topics such as hydrology, the effects of 
acid rain, erosion, and the impacts of in- 
vasive species. The week-long experience 
is hardly all work and no play, however: 
Campers also get to go fishing several 
times and learn how to tie flies. Each 
camper takes home a fly rod and reel out- 
fit of their own at the end of the week. 

The camper fee runs about $600, 
which includes all meals and housing, as 
well as gear needed for classes. Some 
scholarships are available, and support 
also comes to the camp from organiza- 
tions like Orvis, L.L. Bean, Dominion, and 
Fly Fishing Benefactors. Registration be- 
gins in the spring. For more information 
on how your child can attend the next TU 
Tri-State Conservation Camp, contact 
camp director Paul Kearney at (540) 229- 
0563 or go to 

Biologist Paul Bugas with DGIF is very popular with campers and counselors alike. 

TU Conservation Camp has a reputation 
for making environmental education fun. 



1». .'. • 






It; a* 




BL > 

■>. * 


' k * » ^^te. ' Jt W l_ m_ ■ ■ 

j*$* if 

>.' i. 





«» »- 


Virginia's late fall turkey season, of course 

by Bruce Ingram 



here's been some jakes 
roosted on that point over 
there," motions 14-year- 
old Buddy Long of Fincastle. It is 7 
o'clock, the morning after Christ- 
mas, and Buddy and his dad, Stan- 
ley, and I are climbing a Botetourt 
County mountainside, trying to 
reach a flat to the left of the point 
Buddy has indicated that young 
male turkeys have been using. 

We two adults are, allegedly, tak- 
ing Buddy hunting, but right now 
we are relying on him to accomplish 
one of the hardest aspects of fall 
turkey hunting — locating the birds 
before they fly down and head who 
knows where. The goal is to bust the 
birds off the roost in the early morn- 
ing murk and then call them back in, 
as scattered jakes and jennies are 
much more vocal when separated 
from the flock. 

Once we reach the point, a jake 
gobbles some 300 yards away and 
the elder Long and I ponder running 
toward him. Buddy, however, claims 
to have heard some hen yelps just 75 
yards from us. Since Stanley and I 
haven't heard the hen yelping, we 
opt to move toward the jake, which, 
to our frustration, stops gobbling as 
soon as we arrive near that spot. 

Buddy Long once again men- 
tions those hen yelps, and the three 
of us head to the mountain crest 
where the youngster says he harked 
to the birds. I emit a "kee kee" on a 

diaphragm, and the woods come 
alive with the assembly yelp of a 
flock hen, followed by jakes gob- 
bling, jennies yelping, and fighting 
purrs from both sexes. By now, 
though, the flock has crossed a prop- 
erty boundary line, and we can't fol- 
low it. If only we had listened to 
Buddy earlier. A classic "out of the 
mouths of babes" situation. 

Virginia's late four- week 
turkey season is an ideal peri- 
od to introduce youngsters to 
the pursuit of turkeys and teach 
them the rudiments of the pastime, 
says Dave Steffen, forest wildlife 
program manager for the Depart- 

"With schools closed over 
Christmas break, the holidays are a 

Stanley and Buddy Long take note of persimmons still clinging to the tree in late 
December. Persimmons are a valuable food source for Virginia turkeys. 



Sound Makers 

David White, who operates Fantomb 
Turkey Calls in Lynchburg, recommends 
three kinds of calls for young, or novice, 
fall turkey hunters. 

• Trough-type call. Trough calls, says 
White, have a groove down their cen- 
ter, and all the individual has to do is 
slide a striker down the groove to cre- 
ate turkey talk. Different stroke 
lengths and amount of applied pres- 
sure create different sounds. 

• Box call. By sliding the handle across 
the lips of a box, an individual can 
easily learn to create yelps, clucks, 
and purrs. 

• Push-pin. Pull the pin back and forth 
and you've created yelps. 

For more information on Fantomb Turkey 
Calls: or (877) FAN- 

Tips for Novice Hunters 

Dave Steffen notes that the 12 gauge is 
the standard choice for turkey hunting, 
but if someone — child or adult — pos- 
sesses a small frame, then the 20 gauge 
is a very acceptable option. The lighter, 
20 gauge also serves well as a small 
game gun, and if a parent and child 
should encounter some squirrels, then 
they can opt to bag a silvertail or two. 

Steffen labels the apprentice license 
as "a great concept" that basically serves 
to enable individuals new to hunting and 
who have not previously held a hunting 
license or taken a hunter education class 
to become introduced to the pastime. 
For more information, go to www.Hunt- or call (866) 721-6911. 

wonderful time to take kids turkey 
hunting," Steffen observes. 

"Another good thing about hunt- 
ing then is, if the weather is bad one 
day, a parent and child can wait until 
another day to go. Kids are also so 
busy these days and have so many 
activities planned that it's often hard 
to find time to take them hunting 
during a routine Saturday. 

"Yet another positive thing about 
going afield now is that there's very 
little hunting pressure. The late muz- 
zleloader season is still going on but, 
according to our statistics, well less 
than ten percent of the deer muzzle- 
loader harvest takes place then, so 
there aren't many deer hunters in the 
woods, either. Late December 
through early January is just a great 
time to take a hike into the winter 
woods, observing wildlife and na- 
ture, and hopefully coming across a 
fall flock." 

Steffen adds that another enticing 
aspect of fall turkey hunting is that it 
is an active pastime. Participants are 
always moving, calling, noting sign 
and, hopefully, eventually scattering 
a gang of birds. Only then do hunters 
typically set down, but there's much 
to do even then with the calling and 
constant scanning of the woods. 

In fact, the inherent activity that 
defines fall turkey hunting is part of 
its charm. 

"I just like being out in the woods 
hunting with my dad," says Buddy 
Long when I ask him what he likes 
best about this day. "But my favorite 
part is busting up a gang of turkeys. 
It's fun trying to call them in, too." 

Calling Tactics 

In my opinion, late season birds are 
much more difficult to call in than 
their October and November coun- 
terparts. The jakes and jennies still 
"kee kee" (the lost call when flock 
members have been scattered) but 
they infrequently act as panic-strick- 
en and as desperate to re-group as 
they do earlier in the autumn when 
they have been separated from the 
flock hen. 

For example, during one of the 
three outings with the Longs this past 
late season, we came across a flock 
that had been busted as "kee kees" 

Fincastle's Stanley and Buddy Long 
enjoy a fall hunt in the Botetourt 
County woods. 


Stanley Long points to fresh turkey scratching while on a late fall outing. 
Sign like this is among the best that turkey hunters can find. 

were floating through the woods. We 
immediately set up and began re- 
sponding with our own lost calls, but 
then an altercation broke out among 
the jakes. The aggressive young 
males began making fighting purrs 
toward each other and the sound of 
outraged gobbles filled the air. 

We then heard the flock hen's as- 
sembly call — a long series of yelps 
designed to call her young in — but 
only the jennies responded, as the 
males continued to try to sort things 
out among themselves. Before long, 
the entire assemblage had drifted 
away from us, and the woods became 
absent of turkey talk. 

This leads to another point: Flock 
dynamics are much different now. At 
some point the jakes, as they try to es- 
tablish a pecking order among them- 
selves, break away from the flock hen 
and form gangs of their own, which 
are led by the dominant male. If you 
come across a group consisting of the 
flock hen and jennies and scatter 
them, by all means continue to issue 


kee kees, yelps, and clucks. But if you 
venture upon a gang of rowdy jakes 
you will be better served to sound off 
with gobbles, fighting purrs, and 
loud, obnoxious yelping. Even then, 
as our group found out, success is 
never certain. 

Late Season Food Sources 

Like the proverbial saying about ad- 
vancing armies, fall turkeys do travel 
on their stomachs, and ascertaining 
what the birds are eating now is a fas- 
cinating aspect of the pursuit. For in- 
stance, this past season the oak crop 
was very spotty in much of South- 
west and acorns had long since been 
consumed by December. Turkeys 
had largely abandoned the hard- 
wood hollows. 

The places where I found birds 
were among such soft mast food 
sources as wild grapes, persimmons, 
and greenbrier berries. I also noted 
scratching in white pine glades, over- 
grown thickets, and clearcuts — 
places that Virginia hunters don't 

normally associate with turkeys but, 
obviously, areas the birds venture to 
this time of year. 

During the last of our three excur- 
sions together, Stanley, Buddy, and I 
had set up near a field edge when we 
heard a flock walking through the 
woods toward us. We shouldered our 
shotguns, our respective pulses 
quickened, and the thought flashed 
through my mind that perhaps all 
three of us would punch a tag. But at 
the precise moment that the turkeys 
appeared, three deer ran into our 
midst, scattering the turkeys to points 

Although we remained at the scat- 
ter point for nearly three hours, the 
birds never returned. One thing is cer- 
tain, though. Buddy Long will return 
to the excitement of the late autumn 
woods next year and so will his dad 
and I. □ 

Bruce Ingram is the author of The James River 
Guide, The New River Guide, and The 
Shenandoah / Rappahannock Rivers Guide. 
Contact him at 

Buddy Long points out some turkey 
droppings to his dad. 


and the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail 

essay and photos by Gail Brown 

Monday: phones ring, cells chirp 
and copiers clunk. Binoculars 
nesting in discarded memos peek 
out from their aerie atop loosely stacked 
notebooks and appear to wink at you! Clear- 
ly work won't work for you today. What you 
need is time with nature to help you refocus 
and fly right again. And to find the best loca- 
tions to view Virginia's wildlife you know to 
click on the Department's Web site and wind 
your way to Virginia's Birding and Wildlife 
Trail (VBWT). 

Completed in 2004, the Virginia Birding 
and Wildlife Trail links over 670 wildlife 
viewing locations in a contiguous chain of 65 
loops across the Commonwealth. The 
VBWT has become a valuable resource not 
only to citizens wanting to get close to na- 
ture, but to the staff at the Department 
of Game and Inland Fisheries 
(DGIF) and communities 
as well. For communities 
with sites on the trail, 
protecting and pro- 
moting their wild 
spaces helps attract 
tourists and pro- 
motes economic 
growth. DGIF comes 
closer to achieving its envi- 
ronmental goals when citi- 
zens become aware of 
their area's natural re- 
sources and how those re- 
sources can positively im- 
pact their lives. Discover 
Our Wild Side, a compre- 
hensive VBWT guide, pro- 
vides directions to the sites, 
descriptions of the individual 
loops, and maps of the trail. 

School environmental clubs like the 
one at Cooper Elementary School 
for Technology will find that eBird 
enhances their activities. 

Discover Our Wild Side, the VBWT guide, 
helps nature enthusiasts plan their wildlife 
viewing experiences. 

To purchase a copy of this resource go to 

This summer the potential for enhancing 
the value of the trail took a giant leap for- 
ward when all sites on the VBWT were 
linked with eBird, an on-line bird monitor- 
ing program created by Cornell's Laborato- 
ry of Ornithology and the National 
Audubon Society. Now all VBWT site web 
pages have a link to the eBird page for that 
site. The Virginia eBird portal (http: / /ebird. 
org) allows participants to access informa- 
tion about birds observed at each site as well 
as to add what they have seen. VBWT sites 
are identified in eBird by their official name 
and number — the same information seen 
on signage when on the trail. AH this makes 
eBird a useful tool for Virginians wanting to 
use the trail and document their observa- 
tions. While personal sightings become part 
of the larger record, individual identities 
can be protected. Thus, citizens using eBird 
can maintain their own records electronical- 
ly and, at the same time, contribute to a uni- 
versal database with unlimited potential to 
improve conservation efforts in the field of 
ornithology. For Virginians who love nature 
and want to help, eBird and the VBWT offer | 
an opportunity to be part of something big- 
ger than any of us can achieve alone. 


So here's how all this can work for 
you: You can go to the Department of 
Game and Inland Fisheries Web site 
and access information about the 
VBWT. There you will find the best 
places to observe wildlife of all kinds 
— including your favorite birds. 
From there, you can venture to the 
eBird page for that site to see what 
others have seen there! If you wish, 
you can document what you see. All 
will work for you — your spirits will 

soar! — unless you get careless and 
turn off those noisy machines as you 
leave. Someone's sure to hear the 
quiet and come looking for you. And 
how would you explain the back- 
pack and binoculars? It's not even 
Friday yet. □ 

Gail Brown is a retired teacher and school 

The partnership between eBird and the 
VBWT makes it easy for Virginians to 
report and access information about bird 




Dismal Swamp Southeastern Shrew 

story and illustrations 
by Spike Knuth 

We seldom see them but we 
often see the results of their 
habits. They are small and 
secretive, but very numerous. These 
are the shrews, which are mouse- 
sized creatures that are among the 
smallest of our mammals, and the ro- 
dents which include mice, rats, voles, 
and lemmings. 

Shrews have a metabolism so 
high that they are required to eat con- 
stantly, sometimes twice their weight 
in food each day, while still manag- 
ing to sleep, nurse babies, and avoid 
dangers. A shrew's heart may beat as 
many as 700 times a minute; 1,200 

when stressed. They have poor eye- 
sight but excellent hearing and a 
good sense of smell and touch. 
Shrews live life in the fast lane. Their 
constant search for food makes them 
vulnerable to predators and they 
rarely survive past one year. Owls, 
snakes, wild carnivores, and cats and 
dogs are their primary predators. 

Mice, rats, voles, and lemmings 
are gnawing mammals with chisel- 
like incisors. Active most of the year 
in forests, fields, bogs, and marshes, 
they build nests out of plant material 
in burrows or under rocks or logs. 
Most are preyed upon by owls, 
hawks, snakes, and other mammals, 
but they are very prolific breeders 
and can sustain heavy predation. 
Among some species, populations 
are cyclical and years of plenty are 
followed by years of scarcity. 

A number of shrews and rodents 
Virginia are rare and endangered. 
In many cases, very little is known 
about them because so few have 
been located for study. Most have 
lost much habitat due to human 
disturbance, changes in land 
use, and degradation or frag- 
mentation of their respective 
homes. Many now exist only 
in scattered, isolated 
pockets; among them, 
the species listed here. 

Northern Water Shrew 

Wild! lii 


Dismal Swamp 

Southeastern Shrew 

(Sorex longirostrisfisherii) 

The Dismal Swamp shrew is a geo- 
graphical variant of, and generally a 
bit larger than, the common south- 
eastern shrew (Sorex longirostris lon- 
girostris). It is a duller red-brown with 
more brownish gray under parts. 

Like other shrews, the Dismal 
Swamp shrew has a long, pointed 
nose, tiny ears, small beady eyes, and 
a dense, plush fur. It inhabits the 
edges of canebrakes and thickets of 
blackberry, honeysuckle, poison ivy, 
and holly around old logs, under 
leaves, grasses, and other ground 

Active both day and night, it feeds 
on spiders, crickets, worms, slugs, 
snails, salamanders, and even larger 
mice and voles. Shrews nest in bur- 
rows of their own making or of other 
mammals, under or in logs or 
stumps. Females bear two litters an- 
nually of one to six young. 

Dismal Swamp shrews are classi- 
fied as a threatened species. Their 
small, scattered populations are 
widely distributed throughout suit- 
able coastal plain habitat from south- 
eastern Virginia into eastern North 


Jill! UlU" hH 

Jttle Fur Balls 

Northern Water Shrew 
(Sorex palustris) 

The American water shrew is the 
largest of the eastern long-tailed 
shrews, measuring about six inches. 
Its fur is glossy black-gray above and 
silvery gray below. It is almost al- 
ways found near water, where it has 
the ability to dive and swim. When it 
dives, air bubbles trapped in its fur 
give it buoyancy. Its hind feet are 
large and hairs along the sides and 
toes serve as paddles. It has been ob- 
served walking on the bottom of a 
stream as well as on the surface. 

These shrews live in the boreal 
forests of Canada and the northern 
United States, extending south 
through the Appalachian Mountains. 
They inhabit the bogs and banks of 
rocky, cold, fast-flowing mountain 
streams that are flanked by moss- 
covered rocks, rhododendron, yel- 
low birch, or hemlock. Here they nest 
in tunnels or burrows, or under logs 
and rocks. Caddis flies, stone flies, 

mayflies, fungi, herbaceous 
plants, fish eggs, and small fish 
make up their diets. 

Fossil evidence indicates they 
were more widespread and nu- 
merous in high elevations, 
but only a remnant popu- 
lation has been found 
at a few sites in Bath 
and Highland coun- 
ties. They are consid- 
ered endangered in 

Long-tailed Shrew 
(Sorex dispar) 

Also known as the rock shrew, this lit- 
tle mammal is slate-gray above, with 
paler undersides and a very long tail. 
Very little is known but its habits are 
thought to be similar to the more 
common, smoky shrew. It inhabits 
the rocky slopes in mixed hardwood 
and conifer forests, residing in rock 

Pungo White-footed Mouse 

crevices, natural tunnels and bur- 
rows, or under moss-covered logs in 
moist, shaded coniferous forests. 

These shrews are probably active 
day and night, feeding on insects, 
beetles, centipedes, and spiders. 
They likely breed from May through 
mid-August, with litters of three to 
five young each. 

The long-tailed shrew's distribu- 
tion is restricted to the Appalachian 
Mountains of western Virginia. 

Long-tailed Shrew 


Cotton Mouse 

Pungo White-footed Mouse 
(Peromyscus leucopus easti) 

This medium-sized mouse has large 
eyes and measures 5.5 to 8 inches. Its 
colors vary from red-brown to gray- 
brown above, with a white belly and 
feet. Brushy habitats in mixed hard- 
wood-conifer upland forests or in 
wooded river bottoms are favored. 
The Virginia variant, the Pungo 
white-footed mouse inhabits wax 
myrtle and bayberry thickets behind 
the sand dunes of coastal areas. 

These mice are active all year but 
mostly at night. They nest in hollow 
logs, stumps, burrows, and old, low- 
hanging bird nests, and are adept at 
climbing. Several litters are bom each 
year. They feed on seeds, berries, 
fruits, tree buds, insects, spiders, 
earthworms, millipedes, and cen- 

In Virginia, the Pungo white-foot- 
ed mouse is found from Cape Henry 
to First Landing State Park in Virginia 

Cotton Mouse 
(Peromyscus gossypinus) 

The cotton mouse is similar to the 
white-footed mouse but slightly larg- 
er. It, too, has large eyes and big ears. 
Its fur is dark gray to tawny-brown 
above and white below. Cotton mice 
are nocturnal, good 
climbers, and active year 
round. They favor wood- 
ed bottomlands, river 
floodplains, swamps, 
vine thickets, cane patch- 
es, cliffs, and caves. Here 
they are found around 
stumps, logs, rock piles, 
stone walls, and old 

Breeding takes place 
from February into Au- 
gust, with several litters 
averaging four young. 
They feed on the same 
foods as the white-footed 
mouse and often compete 

with and displace it in lowland areas. 
Cotton mice are found mainly in 
the Coastal Plain of the southeast. 
Their status is presently undeter- 
mined due to lack of sufficient data. 

Southern Bog Lemming 
(Synaptomys cooped) 

This small, short-legged vole 
with a short tail has a relatively 
large head, chubby body, blunt 
nose, and shaggy fur. It has brown- 
gray upper parts and gray-white un- 
derparts. Bog lemmings are primari- 
ly nocturnal and active all year. Like 
other voles they form surface and un- 
derground runways. 

Two forms of the bog lemming 
live in Virginia: one in the southeast- 
ern reaches was considered endan- 
gered; another more common form 
in western Virginia. Synaoptomys c. 
helaletes is found in a variety of habi- 
tats in and near the Dismal Swamp, 
ranging from damp, boggy clearings 
to stands of young loblolly pines. 

Southern Bog Lemming 



v" „ 

Synaptomys c. stonei is found west of 
the Blue Ridge in the river flood 
plains and often in growths of horse 
tail. Bog lemmings also inhabit pas- 
tures, grassy forest clearings, power 
line rights-of-way, and spruce forests 
among moss-covered boulders. 

They build nests of a variety of 
plant materials, placed in grass 
clumps or in above- or below-ground 
runways. Young are born mainly 
during the warmer months. Several 
litters a year, usually of three or four, 
are born. Recent findings indicate the 
S.c. helaletes is not endangered. 

Southern Rock Vole 
(Microtus chrotorrhinus) 

The southern rock vole is very rare in 
Virginia, known from only a few lo- 
cations in Bath County and one in 
Highland County. Similar to the com- 
mon meadow vole found throughout 
Virginia, the rock vole was never col- 
lected in the state until the mid-'80s. 

It is a medium-sized vole that is 
brown above with gray-white under- 
sides. The sides of its snout are yellow 
to orange-rufous in color, and it is 
often called the yellow-nosed or or- 
ange-nosed vole. 

Rock voles live among rocks and 
logs close to streams, springs, and 
seeps in mature, quiet forests of 
mixed hardwoods and conifers. In 
some instances they can be found in 
fresh clear-cuts or open, boulder- 
strewn fields adjacent to forests. They 
create a network of runways beneath 
leaf litter and among rocks, and are 
active any time of the day. Rock voles 
feed on roots, fresh shoots, grasses, 
buds, fungi, and berries such as blue- 
berries and bunch berries. Little is 
known about their reproductive 

This vole is classified as endan- 
gered in Virginia, and similar to the 
northern water shrew described 
above, forces that dry up or warm up 
its habitat can be devastating. 

Alleghany Wood Rat 
(Neotoma magister) 

Also called the pack rat or trade rat, 
the Alleghany wood rat is a native 
rat that resembles a big mouse. Mea- 
suring 12 l A to 17 inches and weigh- 
ing 6 to 12 ounces, it has large eyes, 
long whiskers, and soft, brown-gray 
fur with a whitish underside, includ- 
ing its tail. 

It favors caves, cliffs, wet wood- 
lands, old buildings, and rocky out- 
croppings. Fruits, berries, seeds, 
nuts, plants, and insects comprise 
its diet. Wood rats are known for the 
habit of collecting shiny pieces of 
metal such as spoons, bottle caps, 
nails, or pieces of glass, rags, plastic, 
and other discarded items. Often 
they'll leave a pebble, acorn, or pine 
cone in place of an item they take, 
presumably items they were carrying 
when the bright objects were discov- 

The wood rat is found in just 
about every mountainous county of 
Virginia. D 

Spike Knuth is an avid naturalist and wildlife 
artist. For over 30 years his artwork and writing 
have appeared in Virginia Wildlife. He is a 
member of the Virginia Outdoor Writers 

Special tluviks to Dr. John Pagels and 

Dr. Nancy Moncrief, who reviewed the text. 

Be Wild! Live Wild! Grow Wild! is a 
regular feature that highlights 
Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan, 
which is designed to unite 
natural resources agencies, 
sportsmen and women, conser- 
vationists, and citizens in a 
common vision for the conserva- 
tion of the Commonwealth's 
wildlife and habitats in which they 
live. To learn more or to become 
involved with this program 

Alleghany Wood Rat 

Southern Rock Vole 





i &&<■ 


by Sgt. David L. Dodson 

ack in the October, 1979 issue of 
^^ this magazine, Captain James X. 
ij Kerrick and Dr. Peter Bromley re- 
viewed the quantity and causes of hunt- 
ing-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) 
in Virginia for the 16-year period be- 
tween July 1, 1961 and June 30, 1977. 
Their article was titled, "Are You a De- 
fensive Hunter?" Much has changed 
since that time, with the introduction of 
mandatory blaze orange in 1987 and 
hunter education in 1988, but one thing 
has not: HRSIs have always been avoid- 
able, with the application of a few, sim- 
ple safety precautions. 

Compared to many other sporting 
activities, hunting was safe in the past 
and is still safe today. The rate of HRSIs 
in the 1979 study was 14.9 per 100,000 li- 
censed hunters. The rate of fatalities was 
much lower, at 2.5 per 100,000. Howev- 
er, there has been a significant improve- 
ment. During the last five years, the rate 
of HRSIs had dropped to 12.3 per 
100,000, with a fatality rate of 1.2 per 

What caused the positive change? 
The issue is complex, and it is difficult to 
determine all possible causes. One pri- 
mary difference is the mandatory use of 
blaze orange during the firearms deer 
season. The first deer season after the 
blaze orange law was enacted in 1987 
was also the first on record in which no 
hunter was mistaken for game and shot 
by another hunter. 

Since 1987, blaze orange has been re- 
quired for hunting during any deer sea- 
son in which the use of modern firearms 
is allowed. HRSIs have increased slight- 
ly for some types of hunting, especially 
where blaze orange is not commonly 
worn. During the 1960 to 1977 period, 
the percentage of incidents involving 


turkey hunters was 9%. During the pe- 
riod 2004-2009, the percentage had in- 
creased to 13%. Turkey hunting has be- 
come much more popular since the 
late 1970s, with a corresponding in- 
crease in the percentage of turkey 
hunting incidents. 

Even more dramatic is the change 
involving muzzleloaders. There were 
no HRSIs involving muzzleloaders 
from 1960 to 1977. There was no early 
special season for muzzleloader 
hunters at that time, and the tradition- 
alists who used these guns were rela- 
tively few in number. Since that time, 
changes in design have made this type 
of firearm much easier to learn to use. 
A special two-week deer season prior 
to the modern firearm season also 
helped to make these guns much more 
popular. By the 2004-2009 period, 
muzzleloaders were used in 13% of all 

"Mistaken for game" incidents are 
also much less common today because 
of the use of blaze orange, but two- 
party HRSIs still occur. One of the 
most common types of incident dur- 
ing the past five years involves failure 
to plan and keep shots within a safe 
zone of fire. More than half of all two- 
party incidents involve a hunter shoot- 
ing at a deer or some other game bird or 
animal, and then striking another 
hunter beyond the target. Fifty-nine of 
98 HRSIs in the 2004-09 period were of 
this type. A typical description of the 
incident reads, "The hunter shot three 
times at a deer as it crossed between 
him and his hunting companion, strik- 
ing the victim with several buckshot 

During the period from 1960 to 
1977, treestand use was much rarer 
than it is today. Most stands were 
home-made. Records of treestand in- 
juries were not kept until 1992, but 
since that time, this type of incident 
has become one of the most common. 
During the period from 2004 to 2009, 
there were a total of 79 reported tree- 
stand injuries, compared to 163 
firearms incidents. That is about 30% 
of the total. Four of the treestand inci- 
dents were fatal. It is suspected that 
many more such injuries occur, but are 
not reported. Almost all serious tree- 


stand incidents may be avoided, sim- 
ply by wearing a good fall restraint 
device whenever leaving the ground. 
The only recommended fall restraint 
device is a full-body harness. The 
best of these meet Treestand Manu- 
facturers Association (TMA) or 
OSH A standards. Older styles of har- 
nesses and belts can cause injury or 
suffocation, and should not be used. 

In 1988, all hunters from 12-15 
years of age, as well as any other 
hunter who had never purchased a 
hunting license, were required to 
complete a basic hunter education 
course prior to buying a hunting li- 
cense. As more and more new 
hunters have completed the course, 
there has been a gradual reduction in 
the overall number of HRSIs. Today, 
most hunters under 40 years of age 
are hunter education graduates, and 
the rate of incidents is substantially 

Since July 1, 2008, an Apprentice 
Hunting License also has been avail- 
able to new hunters. Apprentice li- 
cense holders are permitted to hunt 
without taking the hunter education 
course, but must be accompanied 
and supervised by a licensed adult. 
Over 5,000 apprentice licenses were 
sold in the first year of availability, 
and no apprentice hunters have been 
involved in an HRSI. 

What can all hunters do to become 
even safer? Obviously, a hunter edu- 
cation course is a good start. It's a 
great way to improve firearm safety 
habits that have deteriorated over 
time. For veteran hunters, such a 
course can "tune up" their behavior 
so that they can set a good example 
for those around them. Young 
hunters, especially, are quick to mimic 
the actions of those they respect. 

Over the years, the fundamentals 
of firearm safety have not changed. 
To be safe, you must, at a minimum: 

Treat every firearm as if it is 


Control the muzzle. Always keep 

it pointed in a safe direction. 

&e sure of your target and beyond. 

In addition, wear blaze orange. If you 
hunt from a treestand, use a full-body 
safety harness from the moment you 
leave the ground. 

Following these rules will help to 
keep your hunting experience safe 
and enjoyable, the way it should be. 

Sgt. David Dodson serves as the hunter 
education coordinator for the state. 

When it comes to "style," my 
hunting partner leaves a lot to 
be desired. His plodding, loping de- 
meanor may have served him well on 
a basketball court years ago, but he 
gets winded very quickly these days 
and seems to sweat a lot even on a 
cool day's hunt. Dogs like me, how- 
ever, are loyal to their hunting part- 
ners. You don't hear us saying things 
like, "Ol' Jones just doesn't seem to 
have the drive he used to. . . might be 
time to look for a new kid to break 


For the most part, bird hunting 
dogs and their humans seem to get 
along pretty well. Maybe it's because 
bird hunting dogs and bird hunting 
humans work together in the form of 
a partnership, each using their inher- 
ent skills to perform a task that 
achieves a mutual goal. Dogs hunt- 
ing with other dogs in a pack often 
work in conjunction with each other 
in the same way. It doesn't matter if 
there are both female and male dogs 
on the hunt; every member of the 
pack knows that the main goal is to 
bring home dinner. You humans, on 
the other paw, just can't seem to stay 
focused — especially if there is an as- 
sortment of males and females along. 
Some of you want to form partner- 
ships; others, relationships. Take it 
from a dog that has seen a lot of 
human behavior: Partnerships and 
relationships are not the same thing. 

I believe humans have a great deal 
of difficulty figuring out the whole 
alpha dog thing. With dogs, there is 
one alpha male and one alpha female, 
and every dog in the pack knows 
where everyone in the pack stands. If 
not, they learn tout de suite (for all you 
poodle lovers out there). And unless 

he is feeling mighty sure of himself, 
no dog messes with the alphas and 
what belongs to the alphas. Having 
an alpha dog establishes order in a 
pack. Order often translates into 
pack survival. Humans need to un- 
derstand their role as the alpha to 
their pup and how to establish their 
alpha status. Some humans are natu- 
rally bom alphas. Some aren't. This is 
when you call in a substitute alpha — a 
good trainer. 

Now some of you may be saying 
to yourself, "I've read dog books. I 
can train ol' Blinker myself!" Well, 
that may be true, but first ask your- 
self a few questions like, "How good 
do I want my bird dog to be?" and, 
"How much patience and time do I 
have to train a dog?" It might be a 
good idea to let your alpha female 
and your kids answer the second 

If all you want is a dog to retrieve 
a tennis ball, you can handle that 
yourself. If you want a hunting part- 
ner that obeys commands, retrieves 
to hand, and knows how to behave in 
the field or blind, you should think 
long and hard about getting a good 

Training your dog yourself may 
be like teaching your child how to 
play the piano — although you have 
never had a lesson. You might be able 
to do it, but it will be an extremely 
frustrating experience for the both of 
you. Every dog has its own personal- 
ity and an experienced trainer has 
developed a number of dogs and, 
therefore, should recognize a dog's 
emotional traits and quirks quicker 
than you do. A professional trainer 
should also know the proper amount 
of discipline your pup needs, and 

apply a small amount of correction to 
a "softer" dog and be firmer with a 
more headstrong one. 

Many trainers do not want to take a 
dog until it is a least six months old, so 
in the meantime, take your puppy to a 
local obedience class where both of 
you can learn the basics. If your dog al- 
ready knows how to sit, stay, and 
come, a professional trainer won't 
have to waste his time and your 
money teaching your dog the basics 
and can focus on the hunting and re- 
trieving part of training much quicker. 

You still may be asking yourself at 
this point, "Why should I listen to a 

I get that a lot. Here is a simple test 
to see if you have what it takes to be 
considered even a good dog trainer. 
Take your 7-year-old son to a candy 
store at the beach — the old-fashioned 
kind with the candy in half-barrels 
with a giant spoon. Have him heel at 
your side and tell him to stay. Then 
leave him. Fifteen minutes later, peek 
in the window and see what he's 
doing. If he's got a big spoon in his 
hand, you need a professional trainer. 

Keep a leg up, 

Luke is a black Labrador retriever who spends his 
spare time hunting up good stories with his best 
friend, Clarke C. Jones. You can contact Luke and 
Clarke at 

Find Game is an interactive Web-based map 
viewer designed by the Virginia Depart- 
ment of Game and Inland Fisheries to pro- 
vide better and more current information 
about hunting land location and access in 
Virginia. Find Game allows users to map 
hunting areas by location and/or by game 
species, along with hunting quality by 
species, land manager contact information, 
site description, facilities available, access in- 
formation and associated Web links. To 
learn more about Find Game, visit^findgame. 



A2>ucJ( Ranter 3 J&ama/ 

by 7e<5 CJar/^son 

s/oVemo'er 2Q) ZOOS 

y/l coh'/e badJ? X coos /udJy enoUah to be in a aood dud/? /ease . U/(e any cohere, you 

£f / dou/d aet s/(Un/(ed on a day cohen the coeather, the tide, arid the birds didn t 
J V. dooperate, o'ut it toaS o/So the k'md ofp/osde that dou/d ajVe Up a three-man 
/imit of ma/ /ards , pi ntai /s , and b/adJ( dudJ(S if the coat erf oco/ina stars coere dorredt/y 
a/ianed. X hunted that /eased marsh near/y every day X coent out, -for- three years. 

tOhen toe /oSt the /eOSe a feco yearS Oao, X toaS devastated. Inhere coou/d X hunt? 
X had no dhoide out to dhanne/ my disappointment into Somethina donStrUdt'iVe, /oo/(- 
ina /or a neco p/ade to purSUe dudfcs . The prodeSS has been diffdu/t, time donSUmina, 
and -/rust rati no out, at times, extreme/y recoardlna. 

"There is pub/id huntina in Viramia -for dudJ^S, but it is not /i^e the pub/id hunt'ma in 
Utah, do/orado, and Xdaho cohere X Spent most of my tcoentieS . There, a /itt/e Sdout- 
ina and a handfu/ of dedoyS doU Id often /ead to a /imit of ma/ /ards coith p/enty of time 
/eft to maj(e it to the /oda/ diner- before they fuit SerV'ma AreafcfaSt. A day /i/(e that on 
puo/id property in Virainia is a /itt/e more diffdu/t to dome by. 

X ho/e /earned oVer the /ast feco years, if you are aoina to fnd a aood Spot to hunt 
dudfcs in Virainia, you are most /i/(e/y aoina to fnd it on your ocon, or e/Se you have 
Some pretty darn aood friends coho are donfdent you are not the /(ind ofauy that aoeS 
f/app'm his aumS in pu A/id aAout cohere he has Seen Seeina dud/(S . Most ofthereoj/y 
aood marshes and ScoampS are tied up in /eases that are diffdu/t to aet in and, in many 
dOSeS, eVen more diffdu/t to a/ford. The /(ey then A'eS in fndina that out-of-the-coay, 
undisdoVered /itt/e aem of a dudJ( ho/e that you have a// t,o yourSe/f— Somethina mudh 
easier Said than done . 

Xt reouireS a Sort of eternal optimism, tryina to fnd a aood dudk ho/e. That, and a 
/ot of patiende, perSiStende, and deSire. One needs to Oe coi//inato Sdour SateJ/ite 
images and property redords, /(nod/( on doors, and maj(e a /ot of phone daj/s, a// the 
cohi/e ^nocoina that most of that coor/( is entire/y in vain. % 

Xt s a donstant Seardh for that " Scoeet spot that is both a/fordab/e and 
OddeSSib/e and cohere, at /east oddasionaj/y, the 
ma/ /ards Scoarm /i/(e /ate-summer mosouitoes at 
dusk- X haVen t found that one Spot yet } but 
Se/ieVina it is out there is the hope X hana on to 
cohen the a/ arm Sounds at 3'30 as*?, in mid -January 
and X head docon the road to dhedk out a neco beaver 
pond or try a marsh cohere a o"uddy Scoears he /imited out 
in h' ah Sdhoo/ '. Usual /y it does n t pan out, but every noco 
and aaain a// the hard coor/< pays of f and X a/y? 
recoarded coith a dedent Aaa. 

X oe/ieVe it S important to never assian a va/ue to a 
hunt based on the number of birds /(i//ed, but the days 
coe aet s/^un^ed have a tendendy to fade from memory a /itt/e 
more ouid/(/y than the others. Xt s hard not to fee/ a /itt/e 
better coith a brade ofbrds hanaina over your shou/der, 
coaJ/(ina out of a neco dudJ? Spot, /(nocoina you coor/(ed miahty 
hard to fnd it . 


Jou nal 

2009-2010 Outdoor 
Calendar of Events 

Unless otherwise noted, for current 
information and registration on 
workshops go to the "Upcoming 
Events" page on our Web site at or call 804- 

November 6: Virginia Wildlife and 
Birding Trail 5th Anniversary Celebra- 
tion, "The Link," 12018 Lee Hwy., 
Sperryville, 8:00 a.m.-l:00 p.m. For 
more information, contact Jeff 
Trollinger at jeff.trollinger@dgif. 

November 7: Shenandoah Audubon's 
9th Birding Festival, Jim Barnett Park, 
Winchester. Contact Judy Hagan at for more in- 

November 14: Firearms deer season 

December 4: Turning a New Leaf, 
Washington, DC. A conference for 
landscaping professionals to pro- 
mote and learn about sustainable 
landscaping and development prac- 
tices. For more information, visit or 
call (443) 482-2156. 

January 30, 2010: Winter Wildlife Festi- 
val, Virginia Beach. For more infor- 
mation, contact Jeff Trollinger at □ 

Buy Your Lifetime License 
' 1-804-367-1076 


by Beth Hester 

The Armchair Birder: Discovering 
the Secret Lives of Familiar Birds 

by John Yow 

2009 The University of North 

Carolina Press 

Hardcover with black and white 


The more I find out, the more I want to 
know; there is no end to the mystery and 
wonder of bird behavior. . . the profession- 
als have done the legwork, and more 
power to them. As an armchair birder I 
accept a humbler role: if I can't paint like 
Audubon, maybe I can put his pictures in 
new frames. " 

- John Yow 

You know how it is with bird watch- 
ing: You casually put out one or two 
humble feeding stations, you invest 
in a moderately priced pair of binoc- 
ulars, and maybe you grab hold of a 
legal pad to jot down what you see. 
Then, before you know what hit you, 
you're in the market for bird baths, 
Nijer seed, Sibley field guides, and 
numerous other avian accessories. 

Author and editor John Yow 
started out pretty much the same 
way, hanging up a few feeders 
around his rural Georgia home, and 
hoping for the best. Eventually, Yow 
began to encounter a variety of 
woodland birds he'd previously seen 
only in books, and he became so fas- 
cinated by bird behavior that he 
began to document, season by sea- 
son, the antics and activities of the 
birds that came his way. 

The Armchair Birder is not a field 
guide per se; it's more a series of mus- 
ings and meditations on the seasonal 
ways of his feathered companions. 
From his country perch, Yow shares 
his amusement at the handsome yet 
greedy cedar waxwings who, when 
in an inebriated state from gorging 
on overripe fruits and berries, have to 
'sleep it off before they can be on 
their way. He is amazed at the fledg- 
ling habits of the chimney swift and 
their spectacular aerial acrobatics. 
Through Yow's eyes we come to ap- 
preciate the ominous turkey vulture, 
and its necessary place in the web of 

Whether you favor random dips 
into the book, or prefer to follow Yow 
systematically through the seasons, 
you will be sure to learn something 
new about the 42 species of birds that 
can be seen right outside your own 
window. □ 

What do you mean, "What am 
I doing?" This is opening day 
of deer hunting, isn't it? 



fifahrd Resources Gnswdm Peruke • Fajm Perukes Agency, ' &ps ofi Engineers ' tie l/uyvm Dfo/frneds 

I Quail Initiative Launched 

a quail quilt is that people come to- 
gether, each bringing a piece of 
land that in and of itself may not be 
large enough to help, but sewn to- 
gether with others nearby, forms a 
habitat quilt for the landscape. 
Each quilt will have a locally led 
Quail Recovery Team responsible 
for overseeing and implementing 
on-the-ground management prac- 
tices. Our staff and partners will 
provide support, including infor- 
mation about financial assistance 
to get the work done. Our motto 
will be, "We'll go out of our way to 
help communities willing to go 
out of their way for quail." 
Landowners can become a part of 
this quail recovery effort by joining 
the Quail Management Assistance 

Working together, we will 
build support and appreciation for 
early-succession habitats, a habitat 
type that does not receive the re- 
spect it deserves. These habitats 
are not only important to quail, but 
to pollinating insects, songbirds, 
small mammals, and many other 
species. According to Virginia's 
Wildlife Action Plan, 26% of the 
birds listed as Tier 1 species (those 
species of greatest conservation 
need) depend on early-succession 

Twenty-two conservation or- 
ganizations have signed on to this 
effort and operate as the Virginia 
Quail Council, shown here. 
Formed in May 2008, the council 
serves as a forum for discussion 
among early-succession habitat 
enthusiasts and enables partner- 
ships to advance related research, 
implementation, and educational 

For more information about 
quail management in Virginia, 
contact Marc Puckett at: 
or Jay Howell at: □ 

by Marc Puckett 

Like much of the country, Vir- 
ginia has witnessed tough 
times for Bobwhite quail. 
However, there are still areas of the 
state where quail are holding their 
own, even showing improvement. 
Our highest quail densities remain 
in Tidewater, generally east of 1-95. 
Pockets of the Eastern Shore also 
still support good quail numbers. 

A new Quail Action Plan 
(QAP) was endorsed by our board 
of directors in February 2009 and 
the Department is excited to be 
moving forward with this initia- 
tive. Many things can be accom- 
plished at low cost to promote 
quail conservation. The new ac- 
tion plan, the Upland Gamebird 
Trail, and all other things quail can 
be found at: 
quail / . This site is designed to help 
landowners conduct their own 
quail research and develop their 
own management plans. 

Central to the success of the 
QAP is the idea of working with 
communities to develop concen- 
trations of quail habitat we are call- 
ing "quail quilts." The idea behind 


Announcing the 

Kids 'n Fishing Photo 

Contest Winners! 

Sessily, age 7 

Anthony, age 3 

Thanks to everyone who participated this 
year. Thanks also to our partners, Shake- 
speare and Green Top Sporting Goods, who 
awarded prizes to the top 3 winners in each 
age category We greatly appreciate their 

To view all the winning entries, go to: 
www. dgif. 
winners. asp. 

Commonwealth o/' Virginia 

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 



y i 



Open the door to a lifetime of enjoyment 

in the great outdoors of Virginia with a 

lifetime freshwater fishing, hunting 

or trout license! 

It's an investment that keeps on giving. 

For more information visit: 

lifetime Jicenses/instructions.html 

or call 1- (866) 721-6911 



During a recent "Stewardship Virginia" kick- 
off event, Secretary of Natural Resources 
L. Preston Bryant, Jr. and Secretary of Agricul- 
ture and Forestry Robert S. Bloxom donned 
their work boots to help plant a tree at the site 
of the new Natural Resources buildings of the 
Virginia State Fair in Doswell. Volunteers from 
the region planted other native trees, shrubs, 
and flowers that day, which are intended to 
serve as interpretive exhibits. Signs that ex- 
plain the benefits of landscaping with native 
plants and the importance of providing habi- 
tat for nectar-loving insects will be erected. 

7 Calendar 

Is Now Available 

It's once again time to purchase a 
Virginia Wildlife calendar — a thoughtful 
holiday gift that's still a bargain at 

$10 each 

As always, the calendar features 
spectacular photography and useful 
information to the outdoors enthusiast, 
including wildlife behavior, hunting 
seasons, favorable hunting and fishing 
times, state fish records, and more! 

Quantities Are Limited, 
So Order Yours Today. 

Make your check payable to 
"Treasurer of Virginia" and send to: 
Virginia Wildlife Calendar, 
P.O. Box 1 1 1 04, 
Richmond, Virginia 23230- 1 1 04. 

To pay by VISA or MasterCard, 
you may order on I i ne at on our 

secure site. 

Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. 

by Ken and Maria Perrotte 

Stuffed Wild Turkey Breasts 

Lucky enough to have tagged a spring gobbler or have a 
wild turkey breast or two in the freezer from a successful 
fall hunt? Here are a couple of suggestions that make creative 
use of the flavorful breast meat. The stuffing helps keep the 
breast moist. And while cider sauces and cranberry relishes 
might fool you into thinking these meals need to be reserved 
for the holidays, these dishes warm up a table any season. 

Wild Turkey Breast Stuffed with Cheese & Apples 






Boneless, skinless turkey breast 

tablespoon olive oil or oil spray 

cup flour 

teaspoon poultry seasoning (ramp up flavors to 

whatever suits your taste) 

egg, beaten or A cup yolkless eggs 

cups bread crumbs 

large or 2 small Mcintosh apples sliced and cored 

pound sharp cheddar cheese 

tablespoons butter 

Parchment paper to line small baking dish 

Slice a horizontal pocket in the breast. Spray or brush one ex- 
ternal side of the breast with oil and dust with half the flour 
and your favorite poultry seasoning. Brush exterior with egg 
and coat with bread crumbs. Turn the breast over so coated 
side is on bottom and place on parchment paper in a baking 
dish. (A tight fit in the baking dish helps ensure stuffing stays 
inside the pocket as it cooks.) Stuff apple and cheese slices 
into pocket. Coat the top and sides as you did the bottom and 
dot with pats of butter. Bake at 350° for about 55 minutes or 
until meat temperature reaches 165°. Breasts from a small 
turkey will obviously take less time to cook. Let rest 10 min. 
before slicing. Serve topped with cider sauce. 

Cider Sauce 

y 4 
y 4 
y 4 

cup turkey stock (boil those turkey bones and 
tougher leg parts) or chicken broth 
cup apple cider 
cup sherry 
cup sugar 
Dash of nutmeg 
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in % cup cold water 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Mix liquids and sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat 
and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 min. Add nut- 
meg. Thicken with cornstarch and season with salt and pep- 

per to taste. Can be made ahead of time and re-heated. For a 
sweeter sauce, add more sugar; for more savory flavor, sprin- 
kle in some thyme and sage while sauce is simmering. 

Wild Turkey Breast Cornbread Rollup 

Boneless skinless turkey breast 

tablespoon olive oil or oil spray 

teaspoon poultry seasoning 

cups dry cornbread stuffing 

( 1 5-ounce) can cream style corn 

to Vz pound sliced ham 

cup dry stuffing, finely ground 

can commercial turkey gravy (or homemade) 

Using a meat mallet, pound breast to uniform thickness of 
about 1 to 1V2 inches. Brush lightly with oil and sprinkle with 
poultry seasoning. In a bowl, mix stuffing and corn. Place a 
layer of ham slices on breast and spread stuffing mixture to 
cover. Roll the breast jelly-roll style. Depending on size, you 
may get a tri-fold only. Place folded side down on parchment 
paper on a baking sheet. Brush with oil and coat with finely 
ground stuffing. Bake at 3 50° for about 5 5 min. or until meat 
temperature reaches 165°. Let rest 10 min. before slicing. 
Serve with cranberry orange relish and turkey gravy. 



y 4 
y 4 

cup fresh or frozen cranberries 

large orange, peeled, seeded and chopped 

tsp orange zest (optional) 

cup water 

cup sugar 

Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil over 
medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until berries pop 
and sauce thickens (about 10 min.). Orange juice may be 
substituted for orange pulp and water or experiment with 
other citrus fruits or even pomegranates. May be made in ad- 
vance and kept in refrigerator for several days. 

Recommended side dishes: Mashed potatoes (for this dish, we 
like redskins, mashed with skin on) and glazed carrots. Mix 
sliced carrots and equal parts real maple syrup and water to al- 
most cover carrots in a pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and 
simmer until glaze thickens and carrots are tender, but still 
crisp. If carrots cook before the glaze thickens, just remove 
them and continue simmering the glaze, adding carrots back 
when glaze has thickened. Fresh parsley makes a nice garnish. 



by Lynda Richardson 

This is Not Disneyland 

Jn a world where shrinking habi- 
tats place wildlife closer and clos- 
er to people, I have seen firsthand 
that some folks have taken on an al- 
most Disney-like attitude toward 
what should be considered wild ani- 
mals. Because of this, more people 
have been hurt by wild creatures 
and, in some cases, the animals were 
destroyed for just being animals and 
protecting themselves. 

We should all be very mindful 
that no matter how "tame" or 
"friendly" a wild animal appears, it is 
wild and we should respect that. We 
should also respect an animal's 
"space" as well as understand what 
is going on with it year round. For ex- 
ample, late October and on into No- 
vember is the white-tailed deer 
breeding season. During this time big 
bucks are preoccupied with search- 
ing out does and guarding the ones 
they locate. This is prime time for 
photographing bucks as well as cap- 
turing interesting behaviors. It is also 
a time when the animal's normal vig- 
ilance is lessened by the more power- 
ful preoccupation to breed. 

This can be very deceiving. An 
animal that allows us to approach 
close may lead some folks to believe 
that it is unafraid and thus tame 
when actually an animal which is un- 
afraid of people is MORE dangerous 
because it is more likely to protect it- 
self as opposed to moving away or 
running off. (And don't forget, it also 
could be sick.) 

One time I saw a man try to put 
his arm around a big white-tailed 
buck for a photograph. He just 
walked right up to the buck, causing 
the doe it was guarding to scurry off. 
The only thing that saved him from 
being hurt was my yelling at him. (I 
won't tell you what I said.) Another 
time I saw some young children 

While photographing in Shenandoah National 
Park, this park visitor walked right in front of me 
with a point and shoot camera to get within 10 
feet of a white-tailed buck I was photographing 
with a 500mm lens. The buck stamped his hoof 
snorted a warning, and left when the man didn't 
move away. ®Lynda Richardson 

(with their mothers!!!) feeding crack- 
ers to a group of does. One of the does 
reared up and knocked one child 
down with her hooves. That child 
could have been killed. 

So... despite all those Disney 
scenes about loving wild creatures, 
the concept only pertains to the fanta- 
sy world of 'make believe'. Wild ani- 
mals will always be wild, so please 
treat them with respect, enjoy them 
from a safe distance, and let them be 
wild. □ 


Oops.. .the two photographs of zin- 
nias in the September Photo Tips 
were accidentally reversed, so were 
incorrectly identified. The first image 
shown was shot at f22.0 for maxi- 
mum depth-of- field while the second 

photograph was shot at f4.0 for mini- 
mum depth-of- field. I'm hoping you 
realized this after reading the article; 
sorry for any confusion caused! 

You are invited to submit one to five of your 
best photographs to "Image of the Month," 
Virginia Wildlife Magazine, P.O. Box 11104, 
4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 
23230-1104. Send original slides, super high- 
quality prints, or high-res jpeg, tiff, or raw 
files on a disk and include a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope or other shipping method 
for return. Also, please include any pertinent 
information regarding how and where you 
captured the image and what camera and set- 
tings you used, along with your phone num- 
ber. We look forward to seeing and sharing 
your work with our readers. 

Congratulations to David Timmons of Powhatan 
for his wintry, one picture story of nature in ac- 
tion. After a snow storm David trudged out into 
the new snow looking for something to photo- 
graph when he came upon rabbit tracks which 
ended with the wisp of a raptor's wings and no 
more rabbit tracks. You can guess how this story 
apparently ended. Good spotting, David! 




■^wr "w^*, <^ = ^; <=m " ^% 


Outdoor Catalog 


Limited Edition 
Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 

Our 2009 Collector's knife has once again been customized by Buck Knives 
and features a wild turkey in full strut. The elegant, solid cherry box features a 
forest scene. Knives and boxes, made in USA. 


$85.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 


Virginia Wildlife 

Collector's Knife 

Produced by Buck Knives, this knife features a red-tailed hawk engraving, 
augmented by a natural woodgrain handle and gold lettering. A distinctive, 
solid cherry box features birds of prey. 

Item #VW-408 $90.00 each (plus $7.25 S&H) 


and Turtles 

From mountains to the coast, our plush collectibles will remind you of your 
favorite Virginia habitat. (Sizes range from 5" to 9" long) 

White-tailed Fawn $9.95 each 



$9.95 each 

Habitat at Home 

Check out this 2009 DVD that features 
several types of home habitat gardens and 
interviews with the homeowners who 
created them. 

Item #VW-254 

$12.00 each 

To Order visit the Department's Web site at: or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 





The apprentice hunting license serves as a first- 
time Virginia resident or nonresident hunting 
license and is good for 2 years. 

The license holder must be accompanied and 
directly supervised by a mentor over 1 8 who 
has on his or her person a validVirginia hunting 

The apprentice license does not qualify the 
holder to purchase a regular hunting license, 
nor exempt the holder from compliance with 
Department regulations. A hunter education 
course must be successfully completed to ob- 
tain a regular hunting license. 

A bear, deer, turkey license and all applicable 
stamps or permits are required in addition to 
the apprentice license. 

Previous Virginia resident and nonresident 
hunting license holders may not use an appren- 
tice license. 

To learn more about the Virginia Apprentice 
Hunting License, call (866) 72 1 -69 1 I or log on 

Magazine subscription-related calls only 1 -800-7 1 0-9369 

Twelve issues for just $12.95! 

All other calls to (804) 367- 1 000 

Visit our Web site at www.HuntFish 

This Holiday Season 

Qive The Gift That Will Be Enjoyed 

All Year Long 

Virginia Wildlife Magazine 

For a limited time only you can give Virginia Wildlife as 
a gift to your family and friends for only $ 10.00 each. 
That's a savings of almost 80% off the regular cover price! 
This special holiday offer expires January 3 1 , 20 1 0. 

Simply send us the full name and address of the person 
or persons to whom you would like to send a subscription. 

All orders must mention code # U9C4 and be prepaid by 
check, payable to Treasurer of Virginia. Mail to Virginia 
Wildlife Magazine, PO. Box 1 1 104, Richmond. VA 23230- 

04. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. 

Remember, a subscription to Virginia Wildlife makes a 
great gift that will be enjoyed all year long!